Tennessee Patent of the Month – July 2023

NellOne Therapeutics is an early stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering advances in regenerative medicine. The company has recently patented an approach to regenerating tissue. This invention revolves around a peptide fragment derived from the NELL1 protein, with exceptional capabilities in promoting wound healing. Unlike its full-length counterpart, this NELL1 peptide fragment demonstrates enhanced efficacy in tissue regeneration, making it a potential game-changer in the field of injury recovery.

The conventional wound healing process comprises three distinct phases: inflammation, proliferation, and maturation. However, challenges arise when it comes to healing injuries in certain tissues like tendons and ligaments. These soft connective tissues, critical for proper skeletal function and joint stability, possess limited vasculature and a low proportion of resident progenitor and stem cells, making them particularly difficult to heal.

Recognizing the pressing need for improved treatments in this domain, NellOne Therapeutics focused on developing a regenerative protein to enhance the healing process. By studying the composition and characteristics of tendons and ligaments, they identified a specific NELL1 peptide fragment with remarkable properties. This variant lacks one or more carboxy-terminal von Willebrand factor type C (VWC) domains found in the full-length NELL1 protein.

The NELL1 peptide fragment, boasting at least 99% sequence identity to the reference sequence, exhibits outstanding wound healing promotion compared to its full-length counterpart. In addition to its regenerative potential, the fragment demonstrates ease of purification, higher yield, and reduced aggregate formation. These qualities position it as a promising candidate for therapeutic applications.

The potential applications of this discovery extend beyond traditional pharmaceutical compositions. The NELL1 peptide fragment can be incorporated into various delivery systems such as drug eluting devices, scaffolds, matrices, liposomes, and sutures. Moreover, it shows compatibility with hydrogels, calcium alginate wound dressings, and calcium alginate matrices. The microencapsulation of the peptide fragment with biodegradable polymers further enhances its versatility.

NellOne explores the incorporation of anti-inflammatory agents and acellular extracellular matrix materials into the pharmaceutical composition, bolstering its potential to address complex wound healing scenarios.

The significance of this invention becomes evident in its potential applications for both humans and animals. In human medicine, it holds promise for treating injuries like rotator cuff tears, hand flexor tendon injuries, and Achilles tendon injuries. Equine medicine could greatly benefit from this innovation as well, especially in addressing common tendon and ligament injuries in racehorses and performance horses.

NellOne Therapeutics’ cutting-edge research has paved the way for a revolutionary approach to tissue regeneration and wound healing. By harnessing the potential of the NELL1 peptide fragment, this invention brings us closer to more effective and efficient therapies for a wide range of injuries.

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